Union Co. Sheriff criticizes Parole Board, calls for policy chan - FOX Carolina 21

Union Co. Sheriff criticizes Parole Board, calls for policy changes

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Jonathan Patrick (Source: Union County Sheriff's Office) Jonathan Patrick (Source: Union County Sheriff's Office)

An Upstate sheriff called for a change in state parole policies after criticizing the South Carolina Parole Board.

Union County Sheriff David Taylor said in a press release Monday that South Carolina's sentencing and parole policies are becoming "increasingly liberal."

Taylor cited the case of Johnathan Patrick, a repeat drug offender who was convicted of two separate drug charges last year. According to the Sheriff's Office, Patrick was convicted in 2008 for possession with intent to distribute marijuana and in 2012 for possession of crack.  Patrick was also convicted in February of 2014 in York County for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and unlawful carrying of a firearm, receiving an 8 year sentence.

In the press release, the Sheriff's Office said that Patrick got probation for each of these crimes, stating that because Patrick was considered a non-violent offender he was eligible for two years after his 2014 conviction.

The Sheriff's Office said that Patrick was arrested in Union County in February of 2017 for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Patrick made bond before being arrested again in Spartanburg County in April on two drug charges, making bond a second time. Union County deputies arrested Patrick in July for failure to stop for a blue light and possession of methamphetamine. Patrick made bond, but a Circuit Judge in revoked the bond leading to Patrick being reincarcerated.

Sheriff Taylor stated in the press release that he believes Patrick should not have been never been paroled saying, "What is the point of saying someone is on parole when they are rearrested three times and nothing happens? How many crimes does a parolee have to commit before the Parole Department will try to send them back to Prison?"

Fox Carolina reached out to the Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services for comment who responded with the following statement:

"The South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services has extremely strict supervision policies and procedures with regards to all of its offenders. That holds true for the Board of Paroles and Pardons which hears each person’s parole case and a decision is made based on the facts presented.
In this case, although the offender was arrested last year while on parole, he only plead guilty two weeks ago. An arrest is not a conviction and he still had the presumption of innocence required by the U.S. Constitution. We are willing to meet with Sheriff Taylor to outline our supervision and violation policies."

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